EL DORADO — Union Mine is looking for a new varsity football coach less than a month before the season starts.
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Dave Johnson, who has taught physical education and ran the Diamondbacks’ grid program since Union Mine’s inception at the start of the 1999-2000 school year, is no longer running the program, according to Union Mine Principal Tony DeVille.
“A decision was made to go in a different direction in terms of our head varsity football coach,” DeVille said in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat.
Stephen Wehr, assistant superintendent with the El Dorado Union High School District, also confirmed the school’s new direction with its grid program.
“The school decided to look for a new coach, an interim football coach,” Wehr said.
DeVille would not comment on the timing of finding a new varsity football coach one month before the season starts.
Both Wehr and DeVille also wouldn’t address whether Johnson will teach at Union Mine for the upcoming school year — regarding the issue as a “personnel matter.”
DeVille said “current coaches on (the) football staff are facilitating practices and strength/conditioning sessions until we hire an interim coach.”
The Sac-Joaquin Section’s dead period begins this Monday until Monday, Aug. 11, when practices officially begin for football and fall sports teams.
An ad on the school district’s Website states Union Mine is accepting applications for an interim varsity football head coach. The deadline to apply is today.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Wear wasn’t certain how many people applied for the coaching position.
“We’re trying to do the best we can,” he said.
Eight months ago, Johnson was relieved of his athletic director duties, but continued to teach PE classes at Union Mine. At that time, DeVille wouldn’t comment as to why Johnson was released. Johnson came under fire after comments he made about aspects of the 2013 Rob Freeman trial. Freeman, a former D’back teacher and coach, pleaded no contest to 13 felonies related to unlawful sexual intercourse or oral copulation with a minor.
Johnson has taught in the district since the 1996-97 school year. He started at El Dorado High and was the school’s varsity football coach. He was then hired as one of the new teachers at Union Mine, and was named the school’s inaugural athletic director and varsity football coach.
Johnson’s teams won five league titles and reached the 2006 D-II section championship game.
Several attempts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful.
Union Mine will open the season at Foothill of Sacramento on Friday, Aug. 29.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.